19 Best Practices for Writing Professional Business Letters



Knowing how to write an impressive business letter is imperative for maximum career success.

By writing with professionalism, you’re leaving a lasting positive impression and you’re enhancing your chances for strong results.

Here’s how to write a professional business letter:

1. Stationery

Of course, professionals use business letterhead (8 ½ inches by 11 inches).

If you don’t have company or personalized stationary, then you must remember to type your contact information either centered at the top of the page or under your signature.

Top professionals often use their own personalized monarch or executive letterhead (7.25 inches by 10.5 inches).

2. Business-like font and size

Readability is important. So choose a generally accepted business font and size. Typically, Times New Roman or Arial in size 12 is widely accepted.

If you’re writing to a conservative person and business, Times New Roman is best.

3. Plan the components

Plan your letter by writing a list of the details you need to include in your correspondence. This will serve as your checklist so you don’t inadvertently forget something.

Make sure every point is focused — relevant and germane to the topic.

4. Use an economy of words

You’ll increase your odds that your letter will be read and acted upon, if you write succinctly. Avoid unnecessary adjectives and adverbs.

In most cases, a one-page letter is best.

5. Professional wording

Don’t use annoying buzzwords, incorrect idioms, or poor English grammar.

When in doubt for business formality, avoid using contractions.

6. Tone

Without appearing to be servile or gushing, decide whether to compliment the person or company.

Don’t use an arrogant tone; try to be positive. You’ll also convey an unprofessional tone if you write long sentences or write unnecessary sentences.

Avoid using exclamation points. That means no emotional verbiage, especially anger.

Be mindful of your image. When in doubt, try to imagine how your letter would look to readers if your letter were printed in a newspaper article.

7. Addressing the letter

Margin-wise, make sure you send a properly spaced letter.

Depending on the length of the letter, an inch or so under the date on the left, list the recipient’s name.

On the following lines, list the person’s title, company name and then the person’s address.

8. Salutation or greeting

The main thing to remember is to show respect for the person. Below the recipient’s address, double space down to insert a salutation such as “Dear … :” Address the person with formality, “Dear Mr. … “ or “Dear Ms. …”.

If you’ve had a lot of contact with the person and typically refer to the personal by the first name, it’s probably OK to do so in your letter.

9. Block style

For easier reading, it’s preferable to structure the paragraphs aligned to the left with no indentation.

10. Highlight the subject matter

For important letters, it’s best to indicate the subject or purpose. You can abbreviate the word “regarding” with “RE:” above your salutation that contains the person’s name.

Or, you can write the purpose of your letter in the center of the page just above the first paragraph.

“You glance at an e-mail. You give more attention to a real letter.”

-Judith Martin

11. First paragraph

Indicate why you’re writing the letter.

12. Giving criticism 

If the letter is intended to criticize the recipient, be assertive with specificity, not aggressive.

To show objectivity, offer a compliment for what the person or company is doing well. (For examples, see the recommended techniques in How to Get Great Service from Dysfunctional Vendors.)

13. Avoiding starting paragraphs in first-person

To create a professional first impression, your first sentence in every paragraph should avoid using the pronoun “I”.

You want the recipients to know the letter is all about them and what you want to achieve, not about you.

14. Structure your salient points

After writing the purpose, your next two or three paragraphs should contain your main points. Bullet them if necessary.

If you have more than a few, it’s best to indent and number the paragraphs for easier discussion and referencing.

15. Call to action

Be very clear. Whether you’re trying to sell something or wanting to fix a problem, always include a polite call-to-action as a follow-up on your purpose for writing the letter.

While you’re at it in your call-to-action, follow it by preventing buyer’s remorse such as “You will be very pleased … ”

16. Express gratitude

If it’s a sales or solicitation letter or if it’s otherwise appropriate you can express appreciation, such as “Thank you for your consideration.”

17. Closing

For formal letters, use the words Sincerely, Yours truly or Yours sincerely.

If you are on friendly terms and know the person well, you can use Best regards, Cordially or Yours respectfully.

18. Double-check

Proof read the entire letter. Verify you’re spelling names and words correctly. Check the details, any addresses, telephone numbers or e-mail addresses for accuracy.

19. Before mailing, put the letter aside

Re-read your letter and look to see if it needs editing. Be absolutely certain you’re focused in your writing by using an economy of words, a polite tone and call-to-action.

From the Coach’s Corner, for more business-writing tips:

11 Tips to Succeed in Your Career with Effective Writing — Whether you want to write as an author like Mark Twain or to generate content to market your business, effective writing requires two attributes: Dedication and passion. Here’s how to succeed.

25 Best Practices for Better Business Writing — If you want to accelerate your career or turbo-charge your business, one of your priorities should be good communication. Good writing is necessary in a myriad of ways, including letters, advertising copy and presentations. A lack of writing skills will hold you back or even hurt your career.

Spelling Tips to Enhance Your Communication Skills — Good communication skills start with using proper grammar and spelling. They’re central for your career growth. People who communicate stand head and shoulders above their peers.

Are You Struggling to Write Great Cover Letters for a Job? — If you want to write a cover letter that will entice employers to consider you, there are several precautions to take. Otherwise, you risk sending a letter that employers won’t want to read. Here are seven strategies.

Thank You Notes Are Vital After Job Interviews – 12 Best Tips — There’s a common thread among people who win jobs after they interview with decision-makers. Winning applicants promptly send well-written thank you notes. Here’s how …

Business Etiquette Dos and Don’ts – Sending Holiday Cards — One of the best investments for your business relationships is to send holiday cards. It’s an excellent way to stay in touch and to show gratitude in your business relationships. But you must do it right.

“You glance at an e-mail. You give more attention to a real letter.”

-Judith Martin


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




You Will Profit from Content Marketing, If You Teach Well


Here are tips for teaching well with a great infographic on content marketing



Many marketers like content marketing because it allows them to get out in front of their competitors. Otherwise, they risk the prospect of potential customers buying from their competition.

Why? Content marketing enables you to help prospective customers see all about your business before you see them.

What’s the secret? The secret to success from your content marketing – you must be great in online teaching and in building trust.

Online readers are looking for good information about answers they seek. That requires understanding about their behavior and empathy for their concerns and aligning them with your products and services.

Unless you want to direct your prospects to Amazon.com, where the lowest price is king, your content marketing should direct to your online or brick-and-mortar site by differentiating your products and services for value and target your objectives whether it’s geographical or age demographic.

For your e-commerce sales, your content marketing should be focused on important digital functions such as driving downloads or add-on options.

Success is aided, in part, by your value proposition or benefit statements to meet value perceptions, which are often subconscious emotionally-speaking.

True, 18 percent of people base their buying decisions solely on price. But unless the sales volume is spectacular, companies rarely survive by slashing prices to attract such undesirable customers.

For the other 82 percent, there are five motivating perceptions you should keep in mind in your content marketing.

The motivating perceptions:

Employees, Spokespersons – 52 percent. The key characteristics are integrity, judgment, friendliness and knowledge. Remember, about 70 percent of your customers will buy elsewhere because they feel they’re being taken for granted by your employees. And customers normally will not tell you why they switched to your competitor.

Image of Company – 15 percent. They are concerned about the image of your company in the community. Cause-related marketing is a big plus in forging a positive image. So is cleanliness and good organization.

Quality of Product or Service Utility – 13 percent. The customer is asking the question – “What will this do for me?”

Convenience –12 percent. Customers like easy accessibility to do business with you. That includes your Web site, telephoning you, and the convenience of patronizing your business.

Price – 8 percent. Price is important, but it’s the least concern among the five value-motivating perceptions.

Consider this infographic from skilled.co:

content_marketing_facts

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related marketing tips:

How to Newsjack for Publicity of Your Content Marketing — Newsjacking – the art and science of obtaining mountains of free media coverage and social-media spin by getting your content injected into late-breaking news stories.

B2B Marketers Like the Economics of Content Marketing — B2B marketers ostensibly get a satisfying return on content marketing because that’s the preferred choice for 82 percent of respondents in a survey. It works fast and it’s cheap.

Earn Profits via Innovation, Relationships and Local Marketing — If your company is struggling as a result of declining profits, at least three factors are responsible: The clutter of competition, management, and ever-expanding and head-scratching list of advertising options.

‘Video Marketing Cheat Sheet’ to Attract Customers — You and I can probably agree on the value of videos in marketing. Videos make it possible for prospects and customers to better visualize your products and services. Right?

Marketing Strategy That Best Defends Your Company Against Competition — What do I mean by the phrase, “A marketing strategy that best defends your company”? Protecting your assets with the right marketing strategy results in the shielding and enhancing of your brand, as well as protecting your customer base.

Outshine Your Competitors with Great Newsletters – 16 Tips — A great newsletter is a terrific tool in your marketing mix. Why? Your prospects and customers have signed up for a subscription. Here’s how to get top-of-mind awareness with your newsletter.

“You have not failed until you quit trying.”

-Gordon B. Hinckley


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 






7 Tips to Draw Customers Back to Your Retail Store



Traditional retail sales are regressing mainly as a result of e-commerce growth. Online sales continue to explode with no end in sight.

True, Amazon is largely to blame for changes in customer behavior. But not entirely because retailers have not embraced digital sales as well as they could.

So what’s a retailer to do?

Here are seven strategies:

1. Upgrade customer service

Successful retailers understand customers make buying decisions based on emotion. By creating a more personal touch in customer service, they enhance their chances to increase sales.

That includes making personalized recommendations and showing appreciation to customers merely by saying “thank you” as opposed to the trite phrase “have a nice day.”

2. Companion apps

Companion apps to attract and engage customers are helpful. A companion app serves as an educator to shoppers. It explains information and specials to entice customers.

Some are hyper-location based. Shoppers take advantage of them as soon as they enter a store.

3. Location targeting

Retailers are now capitalizing on marketing tactics offline that were originally used online. That’s via mobile.

Retargeting is, of course, widely used in e-commerce advertising. Now, retailers can use it offline.

Retargeting uses location data trends – from beacons to ID – when prospective customers are planning to shop and retargeting back to a retail location.

4. Optimize for Google

Google remains the dominant search engine. Savvy retailers attract shoppers by being fully accessible on the Internet.

This is accomplished by a strong mobile site and optimizing Google listings.

“Change before you have to.”

-Jack Welch

5. Coupon technology

Businesses are attracting customers who are now accustomed to click-and-ship shopping. Retailers use coupons to provide in-store-only discount specials.

Many shoppers are taking advantage of fun app.

Stores invest in an app for download that takes advantage of location-based data and then they send these coupons to shoppers’ cellphones when they’re near the store.

6. Cause-related marketing

Nothing excites socially minded shoppers like cause-related marketing when it benefits their community. Such marketing is quite the attraction for good, loyal customers.

Smart retailers back great community causes such as fundraising events, donating portions of proceeds, and educational screenings.

7. Customized events

Retailers are grabbing top-of-mind awareness by scheduling personal events unique to their businesses.

For instance, some restaurants are providing free cooking techniques. Salons are holding blow-dry classes.

They also use elements in cause-related marketing. Dry cleaners and clothing retailers are offering discounts to customers who bring donated clothes.

From the Coach’s Corner, try these approaches and you will enjoyed a renewed interest in shoppers.

Here are related strategies:

8 Strategies to Enhance Your Customer Service Image — Poor customer service is a salient reason why consumers aren’t loyal to businesses. True, today’s consumers are very demanding. It’s worth noting they’re demanding because they constantly encounter poor customer service.

How to Best Profit: Word-of-Mouth Advertising, Customer Service — To increase your sales revenue with word-of-mouth advertising, here are 10 tips.

Choice of Words Matter to Convert Prospects to Customers — Many sales organizations would have an easier route to closing sales if they understood that the choice of words matter. A great salesperson always manages the sales process.

How Mobile Strategies Are Most Effective with Cross-Channel Marketing — Businesses are increasingly using mobile apps to sell products, but the most successful know how best. They use cross-channel marketing tools.

11 Tips for the Best Business Mobile Web Site — If you operate a retail business, it’s increasingly important for your Web site to be easy-to-use for mobile users. The use of smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing, especially among Millennials — young adults aged 32 and under. Studies also show the majority of mobile aficionados use their devices to access the Internet.

Improve Your Customer Retention with 6 Digital Tips — Outstanding loyalty programs for stellar customer engagement play an important role to improve your prospects for lifetime customer value. That goes for e-commerce, too.

“Change before you have to.”

Jack Welch


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






10 Execution Values to Guarantee Your Strategic Plan Works



You spend your days taking care of short-term needs and often putting out fires. Meantime, you do your best to strategic plan for the long-term.

However, if you’ve ever wondered why your masterful strategic plan hasn’t delivered strong results, many companies wonder the same thing.

They devote all kinds of resources to devise a great strategic plan. But in the end, they don’t manage to benefit from their planning. Why?

The critical reason is actually quite simple. They don’t link their strategy to execution.

Strategy and execution must be simultaneously cohesive at all levels – your organizational structure, business processes, human resources and technology.

Here are the 10 execution values to achieve your strategic objectives:

1. Maximize your talents

Without knowing it, companies tend to be complacent about their strengths. That means they fail to fully capitalize on them or fail to understand how their customers will rejoin them.

You can’t make smart decisions unless you know who you are and what your company is.

The solution is to reassess your strengths. Recall instances where and why you succeeded. Write down the reasons, and then determine what you must do to add to your strengths.

This also means you should be continually evaluating your core activities starting with your capabilities, collecting and analyzing data, and performing inquests of them.

Analyze the choices you make in the face of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Yes, a SWOT analysis will aid you.

2. In goal-setting, don’t engage in self-doubt

As you aim high on your goal-setting, make sure your company is fanatically dedicated to excellence in your execution. That means not settling at any level.

It starts at the top. You must set the highest-possible objectives, convey your reasoning to everyone in your organization and insist that each person strenuously perseveres with commitment and valor.

Of course, you must show leadership in these regards, too.

3. Think ambidextrously

Simply put, the left and right hands of your company must coordinate to the best of their abilities. That calls for a culture of ambidexterity.

Companies that are ambidextrous in practices and processes are most-likely to prevent setbacks.

You must focus on using strategy and execution simultaneously. Vigorously anticipate and view operational and technical functions and their outcomes for your entire sector.

Some examples:

— In finance, staffers should explain the relationship of each line item – to enhance each strategy and why it helps the overall welfare of your organization.

— Professionals in human resources must understand their roles in how to maximize profits in alignment with your overall objectives.

— Information technology employees must execute their migrations or upgrades with their eyes on solutions to best fit with your business strategy for the marketplace.

4. Delineate the role of each employee

Meet with each person to explain the big picture of all the issues facing your organization.

Specify you want them to make a personal commitment to make a difference in all details – from big to small. In this way, they will confidently help design and implement strategy for solutions.

While you’re at it, be sure to get good employee ideas, not whining.

5.Line up your culture and company structure with your strategy

Your identity – mission and value propositions – must be underpinned by your culture and structure.

A positive company culture means employees get your strategy and are successful in execution of strategy. Your metrics and incentives must reinforce effective employee behavior on a consistent basis.

When managers become coaches, you get a higher-performing workforce. You will have replaced mediocrity with strong performance. To optimize talent management, you might need to develop a coaching culture.

The same goes for your hierarchy. Your structure must enhance your abilities.

If your culture and structure don’t support your brand, it’s decision time. If you can’t change them, delete them.

6. Overcome obstacles with cross-functionality

In teamwork, your employees who have different functions must team up cohesive creatively and nonchalantly to accomplish goals together.

Yes, your finance, marketing, sales and operations personnel must be able to collaborate – communicate well – in working together and learning from each other.

For better teamwork, eliminate any destructive conflict.

7. Stay current in technology

It’s universally expected that you be on top of your game digitally.

You will not innovate and you will waste your tech investment, if your technology isn’t cutting-edge. You must be capable of introducing new interactions to your stakeholders – employees and customers, alike.

To fulfill your branding promises, you must economically align your business strategy with your tech expertise for great user experiences.

So, for instance, this means you might have to investigate new cloud options, outsource tech functions and decide what to keep internally.

It’s especially critical that your CFO uses best practices to stay current in technology.

8. Decide how to simplify implementation

It’s not easy, but focus on simplicity where feasible. In today’s age, business is inherently complex.

Everything seems multilayered and polygonal. But investments in people, systems and supply chains must drive value.

So for value-creation when you must add to your simplicity, harness your strategy as a controller to decide how and when to increase your convolution.

Be sure to make certain you install competencies to manage any increases in complexity.

9. Configure your value chain for competitiveness

OK, so now that you’re dealing with elements more effectively, don’t forget your value chain. You need vendors, brokers, distributors and retailers.

So you need to deepen your relationships with them.

That entails marketing to them. For maximum revenue, you need them to be effective and passionate about your company.

It also means keeping all real-time and other commitments you make to them from finance to operations.

10. Continuously manage and upgrade your culture

Company-wide trust is mandatory, especially so in our volatile, fast-changing world.

To maintain optimal communication in a disruptive marketplace, don’t let your company’s culture evolve into a monolithic bureaucracy.

Take steps to enhance your cultural attributes for flexibility, mutual encouragement and innovation.

From the Coach’s Corner, use the 10 principles to execute values. They will guarantee your strategic plan works.

Consider these related sources of information:

Finance Checklist for Strategic Planning, Growth — Strategic planning in finance for growth means avoiding trendy fads. Instead, it requires an ongoing down-to-earth approach in order to create value. Here are seven steps.

Employees Will Help You in Strategic Planning If You Use 3 Tips — Have you developed your strategy? It’s important to proceed without engaging in self doubt. But you’re concerned about involving your employees? There are three closely related basics in working with your employees to get the job done.

Strategic Planning – Profit Lessons from Companies That Focus Long Term — To alleviate uncertainty in business and to grow profits, it’s increasingly clear that businesspeople must keep an open mind to seek opportunities, be bold and plan long term. In other words, companies that change their business models in order to become sustainable enjoy higher profits.

How to Avoid Failure in Risk Management and Strategic Planning — Incredible as it might seem, companies fail because they underestimate strategic risks – yes, strategic blunders instead of common sense – according to an authoritative study. Here are three recommendations.

Mindset, Best Practices in Strategic Leadership for Growth — Whatever your situation in pursuing growth, the mindset and best practices in strategic leadership means maintaining a delicate balance – preparing for details and keeping an open mind regarding business uncertainty.

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”

-Napoleon Bonaparte


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






For Business Growth, the 3 Best Practices in Cutting Costs



You won’t achieve long-term profitable growth merely by slashing your costs. That’s usually a defensive strategy.

Why? Many of your expenses actually represent opportunities for your business growth. It’s true.

While it’s common for entrepreneurs to be fearful and reactionary in the face of expenses, it’s more productive to be unemotional when making decisions to bolster objectives.

Wholesale cost-cutting isn’t an approach that will enable you to go on offense. To grow, you must remain on offense.

True, profitable business leaders do cut expenses to align their costs with their business strategies. But they do it strategically.

They know cutting the right costs translate into opportunities that prepare them for growth by unleashing resources that actually support progress.

You can, too. By strategically cutting costs, you will develop a resilient business-growth model.

Start with understanding and identifying the differences in your expenses and how they align with the marketplace while concurrently keeping in mind your customers’ needs and preferences,

Hint: Always remember your customers and clients have to cope with the same uncertainties as you.

So, strive to fully grasp your customer needs and wants as well as the necessary techniques you can use to enhance your abilities to respond to your customers.

Just as you differentiate your company to your customers, you must differentiate your costs to propel your business growth.

A reminder about value: For instance, are you always mindful that your customers expect value? And that value to one customer might differ from another?

In analyzing value, they always look for convenience.

They inherently want to easily understand your offerings. They want it to be easy to buy your products and services. And they want to easily maintain your product or use your services.

Before launching cost-cutting initiatives, understand how each of your costs affects your business.

Just as you differentiate your company to your customers, you must differentiate your costs to propel your business growth.

In other words, keep in mind that costs aren’t necessarily harmful.

Here are strategies for dangerous costs, helpful costs, and necessary costs:

1. Dangerous costs

Dangerous costs are wasteful. They don’t align well with your business growth objectives and should be cut immediately. The savings should be allocated to the resources that promote growth.

2. Helpful costs

Once you fully understand your customers, you can choose to embrace helpful costs. Then, you can use them as investments in your business.

For example, do you need to invest in certain technology that placates your customers?

In my consulting practice which includes marketing, some of my clients have used media advertising in their marketing mix. So we used testimonials and interviews of my clients.

Rather than ask each of them to drive 30 miles from their suburban locations to downtown Seattle recording studios – over my accountant’s objections – I purchased broadcast-quality mobile equipment to record interviews at client sites. That saved them time and money and kept them happy clients for years.

3. Necessary costs

Actually, necessary costs will set you apart from your competition. Competitors will try to copy your strategies.

However, my sense is that when done well nothing is ever as good as the original – even when replicated. Necessary costs will help you construct and multiply your differentiated services and products.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related resources:

Manage Health Costs by Improving Your Culture 3 Ways — Is your company saddled with high health costs? By improving your culture in three ways to minimize stress, your company will improve performance and long-term sustainability.

For the Best Cash Flow, Manage Your Inventory Costs with 8 Tips — With proper inventory management, you can lower your expenses and increase your cash flow. For many businesses, it means taking a look at your inventory costs.

To Cope with Rising Costs, Review your Pricing Strategy — Increased costs weigh heavily on the bottom line. If you’re being pressured by costs, it’s probably time to review your pricing strategy.

8 Strategies When Sales Drop and Costs Cut into Your Profits — If your sales are down and costs are hurting your profits, you’re not alone. The irony is you can do something about it — with these eight tips.

19 Best Practices in Due Diligence for Profitability — To lead your company to high profitability – and to stay there – due diligence is needed in critical values.

“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”

-Benjamin Franklin


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net 


What Bill Gates Says about Donald Trump Will Surprise You



The world’s richest man, Bill Gates, has two unique insights about the richest person ever to win the presidency, Donald Trump.

Mr. Gates astutely observes Mr. Trump was not elected “for specific policies” but for his “kind of leadership.” The tech icon also believes Mr. Trump has a message reminiscent of President John F. Kennedy.

Mr. Gates made his observations in an interview with Business Insider.

The two leaders have talked on the telephone and later met at Trump Tower to discuss Mr. Gates’ initiative on clean energy and climate change.

Mr. Gates said he had “a lot of fascination” with the “new directions” of the country under the Trump Administration.

“… in the same way that President Kennedy talked about the space mission and got the country behind that — I think that whether it’s education or stopping epidemics, other health breakthroughs, finishing polio, and in this energy space — there can be a very upbeat message that his administration is going to organize things, get rid of regulation barriers, and have American leadership through innovation be on of the things that he gets behind,” he explained.

Mr. Gates also told CNBC “there can be a very upbeat message” in the Trump Administration. But on trade he won’t want to get into a tariff “tit for tat” with China.

“You know, a lot of his message has been about things where he sees things not as good as he’d like,” Mr. Gates also told Business Insider.

Indeed, Mr. Trump has to deal with the world as it finds it, not as his opponents think it should be.

To accomplish his feats in business negotiations, Mr. Trump traditionally has taken a hard position – then he’s been able to pull his opponents closer to his philosophical positions.

He’s now using his patented negotiating style in foreign policy.

Even if it upsets people – foreign policy experts, Democrats and Chinese leaders – he doesn’t hesitate to talk with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen or comment on China’s currency manipulations.

New direction

Why? He knows America needs a true reset – a new direction.

The U.S. has promoted free trade, democratic values and nation-building for decades. It worked for a while. But it hasn’t in recent decades whether it’s been in the Middle East, through NAFTA or allowing China to participate in the World Trade Organization.

Yes, America has failed in spreading democratic values, free-market ideals and in nation-building.

Hence, Mr. Gates astutely observed many Americans want Mr. Trump’s leadership style. They’re sick and tired of the oppressive burdens from the failed promises of globalization and unregulated immigration.

“When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”

-Ronald Reagan

An entitlement attitude has swept America. Federal data shows 7 million men – aged 25 to 54 – aren’t participating in the workforce and it isn’t always because of a lack of job openings.

Actually, we’re also seeing the attitude change in other countries from the UK in departing from the EU via Brexit, and the recent Italian elections. Unemployment in Europe, especially with Millennials, has skyrocketed.

Religious radicalism

Religious radicalism is a growing worldwide issue. Spreading from the Middle East, it’s led to terrorism in the EU and the U.S.

Mr. Trump is aware that China doesn’t want to engage in true free trade. China has been manipulating its currency, stealing or extorting intellectual capital of foreign investors, and has been building up its military for dubious reasons.

Since the presidency of Jimmy Carter and in the decades since, the U.S. has been committed to a “One China” policy regarding Taiwan and China has been unchallenged as it’s become increasingly aggressive.

President Obama has been equally weak in this regard. He’s also been mistaken in his approach to the Philippines. He had the ill-advised temerity to lecture President Rodrigo Duterte on how he handles the drug epidemic.

So there’s little wonder Presidents Duterte and Tsai Ing-wen have reached out to Mr. Trump.

Undaunted in order to rescue American economic and security interests, Mr. Trump knows China’s compulsive behavior in violating norms in international commerce isn’t likely to improve without the U.S. taking a brave new approach.

This is in line with his approach on illegal immigration to protect America. He will enforce our southern border and impose “extreme vetting” to screen out immigrants who are hostile to traditional American values.

Mr. Gates is right. Many Americans want Mr. Trump’s “kind of leadership.”

From the Coach’s Corner, here relevant public-policy articles:

Economy: The High Public Price Tag of Manufacturing Jobs — Donald Trump’s election has prompted a surge in optimism for the economy and stock market, according to authoritative polls. But countless manufacturing workers and their families are on public assistance says a UC Berkeley study. The answers aren’t more entitlements or higher minimum wage. Here are the real solutions

Analysis: Trump’s Vision to Fix Trade Deficit, Create Jobs — Donald Trump acts positively: Americans are tired of the reign of politically correct terror, the movement for income redistribution, and the massive loss of good-paying jobs.

2 Democrat Presidents Provide Lessons for Obama in Terrorism — Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, both Democrats, won wide respect for their handling of monster threats to America. Plus, both presidents did not hesitate to identify the enemies, call them out on their lies, and to take decisive action. Why President Obama’s political correctness threatens America’s free-enterprise system.

7 Capitalism Principles for Economic Growth, Prosperity — Employers are discouraged from hiring largely because of uncertainty created by public policies. That includes uncertainty – created by ObamaCare – in costs and taxes.

5 Attributes of Leadership Are Needed Now — With all the dysfunction in the economy and the debate over healthcare, Seattle Consultant Terry Corbell calls for leadership. He says the late President Ford, whom he covered as a journalist, leaves a remarkable legacy of leadership with healthy attributes for businesspeople and public officials to emulate.

“When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”

-Ronald Reagan


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

 

Choice of Words Matter to Convert Prospects to Customers



Nearly all sales organizations insist their salespeople follow a specified process to persuade prospects to become customers.

Perhaps they understand and use the seven steps to higher sales, the five value perceptions that motive customers to buy and they know how to overcome sales objections.

Such strategies are designed to guide the customer through the buying process.

However, many sales organizations would have an easier route to closing sales if they understood that the choice of words matter. A great salesperson always manages the sales process.

id-100396251In this regard, a 2016 study entitled, “Language of Closers,” by CDK Global makes a lot of sense.

The firm reveals that auto shoppers are motivated to buy depending on the words used by salespeople.

CDK did an analysis of emails from 1,300 car dealers to customers.

The objective was to identify the phrases and words that persuade customers to buy cars.

With more than $2 billion in revenues, CDK Global provides information technology and digital marketing solutions to the automotive retail and adjacent industries.

“People tend to assume that positive words like ‘love’ and ‘amazing’ will be the most persuasive to potential car shoppers,” says Jason Kessler, data scientist at CDK.

“Our research found the opposite and proved that dealers who used proactive language articulating clear next steps for action in their email were the highest closers,” he explains.

“Car shoppers need to be guided through the process and the research supported using language to help them on their journey,” adds Mr. Kessler.

CDK compared the auto dealers’ email responses to online mystery shoppers – a comparison of emails of high-closing dealers to emails of low-closing dealers.

Typically, phrases such as “give me a” and “feel free” were used by the low-closing salespeople in suggesting that a shopper contact the dealer at some indeterminate time in the future.

Such phrases are nebulous because they’re unformulated and fail to encourage shoppers to act. Why? They’re too open-ended because they put the onus back on the shopper.

A great salesperson always manages the sales process.

“This research is exciting because it is so actionable,” explains Mr. Kessler. “By focusing on communication styles that shoppers prefer, dealerships can improve their effectiveness and sell more cars.”

Successful salespeople make a better use of value propositions or benefit statements. CDK confirms that that top word used by high closers is “provide,” and it was used mostly in the context of sharing information.

Additionally, vehicle descriptions, details about the buying process and quotes all help the shopper gain a better understanding so they can feel secure in taking the next step.

But low-closing salespeople use words such as “body style” and “options.” Auto dealer jargon and industry terms are not persuasive when used to answer shopper questions.

CDK’s revelations are not surprising. In my management-consulting practice, in marketing and human resources training for multiple auto dealers, I’ve found this to be true.

Another dealer word used ineffectively by salespeople is “inventory.” Salespeople were advised to use the phrase “you’ll love our great selection” as opposed to the phrase “you’ll love our inventory.”

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related sources of information:

Tips for Your Success with Effective Follow-up Emails — Ever wonder why you’re waiting nonstop for emails – why you’re unsuccessful after you send follow-up emails? It might be because of your approach.

Evaluate, Negotiate and Implement the Most Affordable CRM — There’s a lot to consider in order for a great return on your CRM investment. Here are four due-diligence tips.

Sales Lessons for Car Dealers and Other Retailers — Increasingly, as you might guess, moms visit Internet sites to shop for cars but want face-to-face meetings before buying. But moms say they must be able to trust before buying.

11 Tips for the Best Business Mobile Web Site — If you operate a retail business, it’s increasingly important for your Web site to be easy-to-use for mobile users. The use of smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing, especially among Millennials — young adults aged 32 and under. Studies also show the majority of mobile aficionados use their devices to access the Internet. Such data continually changes — mobile sales and use of the Internet is consistently rising.

Marketing Warfare to Hit Your Target Audience — Because of heavy competition, marketing has become more difficult. Consumers are suffering from consumer overload; they’re inundated with marketing messages. So use these precautions to connect with your target customers.

Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

Lewis Grizzard


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy adamr at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Finding the Right Financial Planner for Your Situation



To achieve your financial goals, it can be a good idea to hire a financial planner. There are several reasons why.

However, if you decide you want a financial planner, always remember due diligence is necessary for your financial security. That means more than checking out a person’s LinkedIn account.

There are many great financial planners but not all are honest. For instance in a well-known case, the Securities and Exchange Commission froze the assets of a financial planner in 2016 on allegations he stole millions of dollars from professional athletes.

Countless published reports indicated the planner, Ash Narayan, took $33 million from 77 clients. He allegedly forged signatures to transfer their money to Ticket Reserve, a ticket-selling company.

He was also accused of not divulging to clients that he was on Ticket Reserve’s board of directors.

So identify an ethical, knowledgeable financial planner who is ideal for you.

id-100210227-1Ask yourself four basic questions:

1. Does the planner relate to me?

You’re more unique than you think. Ambitious people come in all stages – from young Millennials and senior citizens to entrepreneurs and doctors.

So look for a financial planner who can best relate to you and is already familiar with the types of your personal challenges and the important planning strategies.

You might consider searching for an advisor by specialty at www.xyplanningnetwork.com.

Make certain you feel comfortable with the prospective planner by careful interviewing. You can learn a lot by noticing whether the planner asks a lot of pertinent questions of you and listens well to your answers.

Keep in mind the Pareto Principle – also known as the 80/20 rule. In other words, the planner should ask great questions about your situation but you should be doing 80 percent of the talking.

It’s a red flag if the planner doesn’t focus on you.

Haste makes waste.

2. Will I be getting the right services?

Evaluate your needs so you don’t pay for services you don’t need.

Not all planners who specialize in your situation are actually right for you. Why? In some ways, they might provide services not aligned for your needs.

For example, some might focus on comprehensive planning in budgeting, debt, employee benefits, estate planning, investing and insurance.

But other planners are more focused on investing than in planning.

3. How will I compensate the person?

The way a planner is compensated affects the types of recommendations, which may or may not be helpful to you.

Some planners are paid a commission to sell financial products. This means such planners are limited in what they recommend.

Other planners are fee-only. This means their income is based solely on what you pay them. Of course, this means they are more flexible in determining what’s best for you.

Then, there are fee-based advisors who would charge you a fee and make commissions on what they would sell you.

My personal preference is to choose a fee-only advisor for obvious reasons.

4. Am I double-checking the planner’s trustworthiness?

Again, you must check whether the person is best-qualified to focus on your needs and if the person has the necessary knowledge and skills to help you achieve your financial objectives.

At the minimum, research the person’s background, personality and philosophy. Start with their published comments and videos.

Next, check out the person with the Security and Exchange Commission and FINRA’s BrokerCheck.

Finally, rely on your notes from your discussions and instincts regarding their interactions with you. When in doubt, don’t – don’t hire the person.

From the Coach’s Corner, here is a myriad of relevant strategies:

7 Steps to Wealth and High Net Worth — Creating wealth and enjoying high net worth doesn’t result from pure luck. It takes a certain mindset and strong action. Here are seven proven steps.

8 Financial Vows for a Young Couple’s Successful Marriage — Young people have starry eyes when they plan to marry. Certainly, they look forward to a lifelong bliss together. Unfortunately, about half of first marriages end in divorce. Often, it’s over money disagreements.

Money – Your Net Worth Matters More than What You Earn — When it comes to finance, most business owners and other individuals strive to increase their wealth to have more opportunities. The trouble with some, however, is that they focus on income and not their net worth. That means, of course, spending less than they earn.

Grow Your Business by Appearing Rich but Conserving Cash — You’ll find it easier to grow your firm if you appear to be wealthy. This will enable you to build relationships with successful entrepreneurs who will introduce you to key people and facilitate growth opportunities for you.

9 Top Money Tips to Get Out of Debt — Debt is a killer. But if you’re in debt, you’re already feeling horribly about it. So get busy with these nine strategies.

9 Secrets for Success in Real Estate Investing — Whether you want to work with investor partners or go solo, real estate investing can be a profitable business. By performing due diligence, developing a system and working hard, real estate investing works.

Haste makes waste.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 






Management: 5 Most Common Reasons to Fire Employees



Imagine a hypothetical scenario for a moment the boss, Jane, is frantically trying to optimize revenue.

But an employee named Sue goes to Jane with a troubling story about another employee named Mary. Ironically, Mary is the best-selling employee.

Sue alleges that the Mary is not only under-performing in customer service, she is turning off customers by treating them badly.

Jane panics. It makes her so angry that she approaches Mary with the allegation and reproaches her.

id-10089464Mary is dumbfounded. She becomes upset and denies the allegation. An argument ensues and Jane fires Mary.

Naturally, as a boss you’re more savvy than Jane. You know not to get sucked into this quagmire.

You know not to congratulate Sue for being a tattletale and not to take punitive action against Mary.

Instead, you would have walked the floor at least twice a day to observe your employees working with customers.

You would also have recalled Mary’s superior performance.

You would also have explained to Sue that she should focus on her own customer service skills and not be monitoring other employees unless there’s illegal activity or someone’s safety is at-risk.

As a manager, your job is sometimes made more difficult than necessary because of unproductive workers.

With difficult employees, you have two obvious problems – the impacts on your organization and the behavior of the individual. So you should use tactics to enjoy your job managing difficult employees.

You also need to accurately appraise employee performances by avoiding 12 errors in evaluations.

After sufficient counseling and evaluations and employees aren’t able to improve, a good manager doesn’t allow the persons to overstay their welcome.

For a business to perform well, here are the five typical reasons to terminate workers:

1. Lack of productivity

In an uncertain marketplace, it’s not unusual for productivity to slow down. There can be many reasons why an employee is not at fault.

However, if it’s shown you have workers whose productivity is poor, fail to improve, show signs they don’t want to improve or they take up too much of your attention, it’s time for you to act.

That even goes for employees with a good work ethic and who are amiable and reliably on time, if they fail to develop their skills to help you make a dollar. You must make a change.

2. Toxic behavior

Some employees should not be allowed to stay if they’re morale busters.

For instance, perhaps they bully others, frequently argue with you or coworkers, spread rumors, fail to carry out company policies or complain about job requirements, you need to sever the employer-employee relationship.

Aimless complaining is a symptom of problems in teamwork, morale, negativity and/or productivity. You should be getting good employee ideas, not whining.

“Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.”

-Laurence J. Peter

3. Cannot cope with change

You must have a workforce that understands change is unavoidable. Employees must be OK with change and be flexible to change or improve with the times.

When you have normally dependable workers but who can’t cope, you must nevertheless replace them.

4. No call or no show

When employees suffer a personal tragedy like the loss of a loved one, sometimes the last thing they remember to do is to call into work. Empathy is recommended.

But it’s a red flag if they have another tragedy and fail to call.

To avert losing time and money, your company must have good policies regarding absences.

If employees fail to call again, chances are they’re undesirable workers in other respects. If so, it’s time to let them go.

For healthy profits, it’s also good strategy to embark on a program solve employee absenteeism.

5. Customer and supplier complaints

When a customer or vendor feels taken for granted, 70 percent of the time they will fire your company.

Worse, your word-of-mouth advertising will suffer. Unhappy people will usually complain to numerous others.

For your customers, especially, their complaints about your company will become a crusade in their daily conversations or on social media.

You can’t afford employees who aren’t service-minded for your customers and vendors.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related resource links:

Workplace Bullying – Tips for Victims and Bosses — Workplace issues include bullying. It’s a widespread problem for employers and employees, alike. Here are valuable tips for both employers and workplace victims.

Legal HR Issues? Best Practices in Workplace Investigations — As an employer, one of your biggest nightmares can be issues involving your employees. There can be many reasons to conduct an investigation. “Action expresses priorities,” said Mohandas Gandhi. So you should act quickly.

Critical HR Recruiting Strategies for Business Profit — By developing strategic recruiting plans, human resources professionals will make significant contributions to the bottom-line profit goals of their employers. So, it’s imperative to innovate in your recruiting processes and market your strategies to senior management and hiring managers.

How to Rock Your Human Resources with Employee Referrals — Admittedly, there’s a myriad of ways to recruit great employees. But no recruitment option surpasses a well-executed, strategic employee-referral program.

Probation Meetings – HR Tactics for New Employee Success — Hiring employees is expensive. So it’s important to use tactics that will help insure success of new workers. That calls for probation meetings. Here are five proven tactics.

Risk Management in Hiring: Pre-Employment Screening Tips — Here are two questions about hiring: 1) what’s the biggest mistake companies make in hiring employees; and 2) what’s the biggest legal obstacle employers face in hiring? Here’s what to do about background screening.

“Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.”

-Laurence J. Peter


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 





Photo courtesy imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Tips for Your Success with Effective Follow-up Emails



OK, businessperson, so you’re once again learning that an adage is true: “A watched pot never boils.” That’s especially true when hoping for positive information in business.

If you’re like many businesspeople, you’re experiencing stress waiting to hear back from clients or other associates. You’re wearing yourself out checking your inbox.

Ever wonder why you’re waiting nonstop for emails – why you’re unsuccessful after you send follow-up emails?

id-10099094So you start thinking about all the quotations about perseverance.

You’re motivated to think of excuses to send yet another follow-up email.

Wait.

First, think about how you feel when you get emails that don’t motivate you.

Many such emails are insulting because they’re annoying, right?

Here are common mistakes in sending follow-up emails:

1. “In case, my email went to your junk…”

Imagining your email recipient never saw your email is unproductive. Sending such an email is fantasy thinking.

Your intended recipient will likely think the same as you.

Worse, the person is likely to think you’re immature from being awkwardly impatient.

2. “Just following up in checking you didn’t forget…”

By sending such an email, you’re assuming there’s an irrational reason why the person hasn’t responded.

Actually, you’re insinuating the person either has amnesia or isn’t organized.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

3. “Because my email hasn’t been working well…”

By dishonestly trying not to insult the person, you’re sending the message that your email system is inefficient.

Scheming is not a virtue. Don’t send such an email unless it’s really true.

4.Realizing you’re really busy…”

Your recipient is likely to be insulted because you’re telling the person to make you a priority. That’s gauche. Put another way, it’s insulting.

Acknowledging the person is busy, but then to become an interruption in his or her day is unproductive and isn’t likely to be received well. You’re actually being dismissive of the person.

Solution

Forget the manipulations. Fake excuses will be obvious. They make you look like a dishonest amateur.

If you want an answer, show you have patience with true business acumen. Wait five business days between communications. Send truthful emails with value propositions.

By being patient – not needy – you’re far more likely to win. So don’t give away your power by being impatient.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are tips in the art of persuasion:

Insights – Why Marketers Should Show Moderation in Digital Communication — Businesses will decrease their chances for customer loyalty and repeat business if they don’t act with more self-control in digital marketing.

25 Best Practices for Better Business Writing — If you want to accelerate your career or turbo-charge your business, one of your priorities should be good communication. Good writing is necessary in a myriad of ways, including letters, advertising copy and presentations. A lack of writing skills will hold you back or even hurt your career.

9 Tips to Connect with People after You Make Your Speech — Typically, in making a speech at a public forum, businesspeople hope to get a return on their investment — here’s how you can get a strong ROI.

Are You Hungry for Marketing Ideas to Expand Your E-mail List? — Bloggers and Web site owners can benefit from the same potpourri of strategies to attract visitors and to persuade them to join an e-mail list.

Business Etiquette Dos and Don’ts – Sending Holiday Cards — One of the best investments for your business relationships is to send holiday cards. It’s an excellent way to stay in touch and to show gratitude in your business relationships. But you must do it right.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net


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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.